After announcing that it was going to start running video ads in user timelines, Facebook is testing its first video ad today.
The ad, a trailer for the movie Divergent, will begin showing up in the timelines of a handful of users today. The ad will look like an animated GIF as users scroll down their timeline, meaning the video will play, but without sound. If the ad gets clicked on, it will expand and play from the start, with sound.
Here’s a video of what the new ad will look like:
Video ads have been in development at Facebook for a long time, but the company says it was taking great pains to make sure they would not be invasive for users. This silently playing version of the ads is the compromise Facebook is hoping users will accept. But video ads are an inevitability. Video generates far more engagement than static display ads and its a lucrative opportunity for Facebook to start charging the high advertising rates previously enjoyed only by television.
Today the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook will start selling video ads on Thursday this week, helping it capture a chunk of the $66.4 billion TV advertising market. And while it didn’t indicate how much it would charge, industry insiders are pretty sure it won’t be cheap.
Executives told The Wall Street Journal in August that Facebook planned to charge $2 million a day to let advertisers reach the full Facebook audience of adults ages 18 to 54.
“We expect video to be more expensive,” said Dan Slagen, senior vice president of marketing for Nanigans, a digital-marketing software company. “But we’re going to see advertisers willing to pay,” he said Monday.
Facebook may have beaten other social media platforms by getting to video ads first, but it still remains to be seen if its fears about annoying users might just be vindicated.